The mission of the Virginia HAB Task Force is to conduct monitoring and surveillance for HAB species, to respond to and investigate HAB events, utilize scientifically relevant information to advise public health and environmental resource managers, and to communicate potential health risks to the public.
These efforts are intended to prevent human exposure to HAB organisms and their toxins which may be present in Virginia marine and fresh waterbodies.
The Virginia Department of Health works in cooperation with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Old Dominion University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary, to monitor Virginia’s waters for harmful algae and to prevent illness that may be caused by these organisms. This group is collectively known as the Virginia HAB Task Force and was formed in 1997.
These agencies collaboratively conduct surveillance in shellfish growing areas, estuaries, as well as coastal beaches and inland freshwater lakes and rivers. This group communicates routinely with one another and the public about HABs to facilitate awareness, discussions, and to share research findings in order to protect human health.
For questions about the HAB Task Force, please use the Contact Us page.
HAB Task Force Response Plan - (2018)
2021 General Assembly Report - HABs
Task Force Primary Support Member Charter
NEW - Cyanobacteria Bloom Response Job Aid (2022)
Guidance for Cyanobacteria Advisory Management (Approved 2021)
Cyanobacteria Toxins & Health Effects
Marine Toxins & Associated Syndromes
Information For Working Waterfront
Virginia poison Control Center
ODU Phytoplankton Analysis Lab - HAB Sample Collection for Virginia (2022)
ODU Phytoplankton Analysis Lab - Field Collection Chain of Custody Sheet
HAB Recreational Awareness, Algal Mat Alerts, & Advisory Signs